September 2009 Issue
Buying Repo Cessnas: A Few Stellar Deals Exist
Cessna Finance auctions off a select number of their repossessed aircraft. Popular models can fetch near market price, but some are walk-away bargains.
For many of us, the mention of a repo man may conjure images of Emilio Estevez hunting down a ’64 Chevy Malibu with aliens in the trunk. But the sad truth is that repossessions happen on aircraft just the way they do on any other vehicle bought on credit. There’s a common misconception that these aircraft go back to the manufacturer. They don’t. They go to the bank that financed the sale and now has an aircraft owner defaulting on their loan. That’s a sad day for the owner, but, perhaps, an opportunity for you—if you want a light Cessna or a Bell helicopter. Banks (or finance corporations) don’t want to own aircraft. So much so that our sources tell us they will do almost anything to work with the buyer to avoid taking the aircraft. But it does happen (perhaps more so these days) so there are systems in place to try and recoup some of the loss. For most major finance outlets, that means the repo’d aircraft goes to a dealer who then resells it. It turns out the right to do this is highly prized and closely guarded information among aircraft dealers. We tried to find out where you’d be likely to find a repo Diamond or Cirrus and had only limited success—and where we did have success it was as off-the-record information only.
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